Indy interns: Why your next job should be fast food | Editor | Indy Week
Editor
INDY Week editor Lisa Sorg's blog

Archives | RSS

Friday, December 16, 2011

Indy interns: Why your next job should be fast food

Posted by on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 3:43 PM

A corner of the Indy office is emptier today. Our two interns, Maggie Smith and Jason Y. Lee, have left, their apprenticeship finished. There was something comforting about seeing them encamped nearby, laptops open, phones couched in the crook of their neck. We miss them already.

Indy interns are subjected to the same rigors and expectations as regular staffers—not fluffy routines of opening mail and making coffee. In return, they get a world of real-life experience, an impressive cache of clips and, if they're old enough, a bottle from the beer cart that occasionally makes the rounds late on a Friday afternoon.

I don't give interns unsolicited career advice, but if they ask, this is what I tell them:

1) Don't get too caught up in what your friends are doing. Set your own goals and expectations—and certainly don't sell yourself short—but don't allow peer pressure to dictate how you live.

2) Before becoming a journalist, take a series of shitty, low-wage jobs that will pay you just enough to cover your bills. Not only will this prepare you for a journalist's salary, but you will learn empathy and humility. The experience will make you a better journalist. Plus, you will never think any job is beneath you. I paid my dues as a school crossing guard, maid (got fired after one day), cake decorator, assistant manager at Subway, McDonald's cashier, musical instrument salesperson, newspaper delivery driver, donut delivery driver (not at the same time, but that would've been handy), record store clerk, video store clerk, nightclub booking agent, band manager, shelver in a college textbook warehouse and a telemarketer at a greeting card company—all between the ages of 21 and 29.

3) In addition to your low-wage job, live as The New York Times' David Carr calls it, a "fully textured life." That doesn't mean you should become a crackhead. But you should take at least one cross-country trip by car and visit a nation where indoor plumbing is not a given.

4) Read a lot of books.

5) Talk to people you don't know.

6) Fail at something, especially if you've come from a hard-charging, high-octane family that put a premium on achievement. You'll find that despite your shortcomings, you're still a decent, valuable person.

So, Jason and Maggie, good night and good luck.

Pin It

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Editor



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

ProudlyUnaffiliated.....Well You sure wrote a fkn mouthful about shit unrelated to this story and added your political twist and felt …

by Tony D on Why did Craig Hicks kill three Muslim students? Because he lost his humanity. (Editor)

Chris, I used a zoom lens!

by Lisa Sorg on Durham is a city of things unnoticed: Such an odd find at the Jack Tar Motel (Editor)

Q: "8 feet off the ground, is an odd spot for a light switch.
How did one reach the switch?" …

by Chris Tiffany on Durham is a city of things unnoticed: Such an odd find at the Jack Tar Motel (Editor)

Very neat, as a 38 year old skateboarder, one of the things I've always talked about, since I was a …

by Noah Goyette on Durham is a city of things unnoticed: Such an odd find at the Jack Tar Motel (Editor)

At her lecture yesterday, Dr. Fullilove mentioned that the redlining mortgage maps were unavailable except by visit to the National …

by Andrew Edmonds on Love Durham? Then you need to come to
Mindy Fullilove's talk about cities
(Editor)

Comments

ProudlyUnaffiliated.....Well You sure wrote a fkn mouthful about shit unrelated to this story and added your political twist and felt …

by Tony D on Why did Craig Hicks kill three Muslim students? Because he lost his humanity. (Editor)

Chris, I used a zoom lens!

by Lisa Sorg on Durham is a city of things unnoticed: Such an odd find at the Jack Tar Motel (Editor)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation